Iranian mistake

17 Jan 2020


IRAN has admitted shooting down the Ukraine airliner unintentionally. This amounts to murder of 176 innocent lives. Although Iranian air defence was under tremendous pressure owing to the scenario created by the assassination of Iran’s top military commander, it was a deadly mistake to fire at a civilian airliner.

The Iranian civil aviation authority should have closed the airspace and stopped all flight operations before carrying out retaliatory strikes.

Owing to the fast developing cyber technology it is not difficult to distinguish between a civilian aircraft and the military ones and Iran’s air defence system is quite capable of it. One example is the shooting down of an American drone in the Strait of Hormuz but letting go of military aircraft as it had crew onboard.

All commercial airline aircraft are equipped with transponder — an electronic device that produces a response when it receives a radio frequency interrogation. This is used to identify the equipped aircraft on air traffic control radar.

The transponders of all civil air traffic transmit every detail like call sign, assigned transponder code, heading, speed, altitude, etc. Destroying a passenger civilian aircraft was an extremely unprofessional and uncalled-for act by the Iranian air defence department.

M Khalid Kamal
Doha, Qatar


IT is unfortunate that the Ukrainian passenger plane was downed by a missile in Iran. This tragic incident resulted in loss of 176 lives. There were reports that an Iranian missile targeted this commercial airline shortly after it took off from Tehran.

However, the Iranian civil aviation organisation denied any involvement in this horrific incident.

But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later confirmed the incident that the plane was mistakenly shot down. Both regretted this disastrous mistake.

This incident has exposed Tehran’s tall claims of having a sophisticated military technology that can challenge the military might of Washington and Israel. This tragedy should be an eye-opener for Iran.

Tehran must upgrade its weapons system. This tragic incident was not just a human error as Iranian officials claim. This tragedy also involved about 82 Iranian citizens as well who lost their lives.

Iran must take actions against those who were involved in this incident.

Faisal Zaman


The unintentional downing of the Ukrainian aircraft by Iran is a catastrophic error. I offer condolence and deep sympathies to the families of the victims.

However, we must note and compare the reactions of other countries in similar circumstances. Iran has admitted and apologised. Russia was held responsible after international investigation for downing the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014, killing 298 persons. Moscow had rejected the international findings.

The Americans downed, by error, an Iran Air flight in 1988 in which 290 people were killed. The then vice-president George Bush refused to offer excuses and even later the Legion of Merit was awarded to Capt Will C. Rogers of US Navy, who ordered to shoot the aircraft.

Mustayeen Ahmed Khan
Brumath, France

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020